The European Union on Thursday November 21st urged Iran to show "maximum restraint" in handling protests sparked in the country in recent days by a petrol price hike, leaving at least several people dead, AFP reported.
"We expect Iran's security forces to exercise maximum restraint in handling the protests and for protesters to demonstrate peacefully. Any violence is unacceptable," Maja Kocijancic spokeswoman for the EU said in a statement.
She expressed condolences to the families of the dead, urged an end to violence and called for dialogue to resolve the crisis, adding "the rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be guaranteed."
The EU expects the Iranian authorities to restore communications and end a near-total internet blackout in place since the weekend, she said.
Demonstrations erupted in sanctions-hit Iran on Friday November 15th, hours after the price of petrol was raised by as much as 200% and unrest spread to at least 40 urban centres.
Iranian officials have confirmed five deaths, including three from the security forces. However, Amnesty International estimated on Tuesday November 19th that more than 100 demonstrators were believed to have been killed and that the real toll could be as high as 200.
The UN human rights office was also alarmed by reports that live ammunition had caused a "significant number of deaths".
Iran's economy has been battered since May 2018 when US President Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposed punitive sanctions.